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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Five Dead, Eight Hurt After Gunman Opens Fire in Florida Airport; Putin Directly Ordered Effort To Influence Election; Trump Downplays Russian Meddling Despite Intel Report. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 6, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where on a busy Friday afternoon, in the very easy airport, a man arrived on a flight, got a gun out of his checked bag and opened fire in the baggage claim area, killing five people and injuring eight others. The gunman is now in custody.
One witness told me the gunman shot indiscriminately and at point- blank range. You'll hear from that witness and others over the next two hours.
The shooting set off chaos out of the airport, with people running for cover out onto the tarmac. You'll also hear what we know about the suspect.
Now, it's generally our policy not to give mass shooters any infamy they may be seeking. In this case, it is early in the investigation. Authorities are still seeking information about the suspect. So, we're going to use his name and picture but we'll do sparingly.
The suspect has been identified by law enforcement sources as Esteban Santiago, former Army National Guard member who according to officials showed up at an FBI office in Alaska a few months ago and said he was hearing voices. We should note the mayor of Broward County, Florida, has raised doubt about whether that is, in fact, the suspect's name. We'll speak with her for more information in a moment.
But, first, our Boris Sanchez has been reporting outside the airport and joins me now.
So, Boris, just a horrific day there at Ft. Lauderdale. What's the latest tonight?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, right now, we're actually watching passengers that were inside the terminal where the shooting took place, finally being allowed to leave. There are dozens and dozens of them. They're now being loaded onto these buses you see here just to the left.
So, finally, they're being allowed to go home after several hours of being stuck inside that terminal with hundreds of heavily armed law enforcement present and all around canvassing the scene. As you mentioned, Anderson, we are learning more about the shooter.
In fact, just a few moments ago, we got confirmation that in the past, the shooter had purchased two Glock pistols, one of them a Glock 9, the other a Glock 40, though it's unclear if those were the weapons he used in this attack.
What we're hearing from sources is that apparently, he had been on a flight from Alaska to Ft. Lauderdale. One witness told CNN that they had some kind of an altercation on the flight. The shooter had an altercation on the flight. Sources are telling us that once they landed, he retrieved his baggage. At least one source says he went into a restroom, took out the weapon and then opened fire, wreaking havoc on Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
Even after the shooting seemed to be over and there were law enforcement around this area, excuse me, speaking with passengers here, there were other false reports, rumors of another shooting that caused panic and caused people to scream and run for the runways. We saw law enforcement also being mobilized into these parking garages to try to canvass the scene.
I've spoken to several people here who told me it was a harrowing day. Other passengers simply didn't want to talk to us. It was a day they will not soon forget, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, we talked to a number of people who witnessed the shooting. We'll hear from them over the next two hours.
Are police letting passengers back inside the airport yet? I mean, are flights taking off?
SANCHEZ: We haven't seen any flights take off since we arrived here shortly before 2:00 p.m., Anderson. And pretty much since about that time, no one could get in or out of the airport. We've been standing here for several hours and I didn't see any cars but armored vehicles or official vehicles going in or out.
Just about an hour ago, I started seeing what appeared to be civilian cars coming in, perhaps people to pick up relatives here at the airport. But the flow of traffic right now in Ft. Lauderdale airport is out. They want all these people out of here so they can canvass the scene.
And a lot of them frankly couldn't wait to get out of here. There were so many people standing outside not only terminal two but also terminal one, because the entire airport was shut down the entire day. Stranded passengers trying to console their children and figure out what was going on. There was chaos and confusion. I'm sure a lot of these folks are looking forward to being home.
COOPER: Yes, Boris Sanchez, appreciate that.
We're going to check back in with Boris later on tonight.
The shooting and its aftermath made for hours of chaos obviously at the airport this afternoon. Randi Kaye reports on the time line and what we know.
PILOT: OK, they want us to hold for the tango line. Guess there's firing going on in the terminal.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER: We're currently having a building evacuation at Terminal 2.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's just before 1:00 p.m. when a gunman opens fire at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. He's inside baggage claim a terminal 2.
JOHN SCHLICHER, SAW SHOOTER AT AIRORT: He came up right where we were and he was shooting people that were down on the ground too.
KAYE: He says they tried to help the victims.
SCHLICHER: My wife took (INAUDIBLE) from my mother in law applied pressure to the gentleman who's right next to us, he'd been shot in the head. All the people had been shot in head. We check, the man next to him had no vital signs. He was gone.
KAYE: Another witness tells CNN his plane had just landed and some victims are his fellow passengers.
ERIK WHITESIDE, WITNESS: Everybody started running, I grabbed our kids and we took off running down the ramp. The flight attempted led us off the tarmac. We ran onto the tarmac to hide behind some luggage cars. It was like a war zone here.
KAYE: The airport was immediately shut down. All passengers are evacuated. They run to the tarmac in search of safety. Authorities quickly zero in on the suspect.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: We have this shooter in custody. He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots.
KAYE: Apprehended but not before these horrifying moments.
By now, it's 1:43 p.m. and the Broward County shall have's office tweets that multiple people are dead. Some lucky enough to be alive are left bleeding. Someone posted video of this passenger being treated on the sidewalk.
By 2:00 p.m., the official count is three dead. Minutes later, it's up to five dead. At least eight are injured.
By mid-afternoon, Florida's senior senator says the TSA has told him to who did this.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: The shooter is Esteban Santiago. He had a military ID. We don't know if that is an accurate ID or if it is a current ID.
KAYE: But it's not over. About 2:20 p.m., word of more gunfire. Police are seen scrambling on the tarmac and near the parking garage.
Once again, passengers spill onto the tarmac. Others duck behind parked cars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody just sprinted outside again. And so, we just ran out again. I honestly don't know what's happening.
KAYE: At 2:33p.m., a tweet from the TSA, "Active shooter at FLL. Shelter in place. Airport closed." Sniper teams are put on alert.
ISRAEL: We have a variety of SWAT teams out and assets out clearing the entire airport.
KAYE: No other gunman is found.
ISRAEL: At this point, it looks like he acted alone. There's no second active shooter.
KAYE: Officials won't say if the suspect is targeting someone on an arriving flight or if he's cooperating.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Joining me with more on the investigation, CNN justice correspondent, Evan Perez.
So, what can you tell us about how this happened?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, one of the most interesting things is what happens after one of these incidents is you've got witness statements and, you know, you spend a lot of time, especially investigators there on the ground, spending a lot of time trying to corroborate.
At this point, we're told that they have not been able to corroborate this idea that there was an altercation on the plane. They still have these witness statements and report that there might have been some kind of altercation on the aircraft on one of the legs of this aircraft. Apparently, this was a connecting flight from Alaska into Ft. Lauderdale. They have not yet been able to corroborate whether or not this was anything that happened on this aircraft.
And really, one of the things that you call attention to in this case is that if there had been anything significant that security would certainly have met this aircraft at the airport when it landed, and that did not happen in this case. So, that tells us that if there had been something, it wasn't a big deal necessarily, at least not in the eyes of the aircraft crew, the airline there. So, that's something that investigators are still looking into.
Then, there's the second part of this, which is the mental health picture, Anderson, which, you know, in this case, you know, you try to get into the motivation of the suspect. We're told that he did go to the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, a couple months ago. He reported to his friends that he was hearing voices, and he told the FBI that an intelligence agency was telling them to watch ISIS videos. Apparently, some of the people around him heard him say he wanted to join ISIS, again, based on these voices he was hearing.
The FBI took a look at him, they looked at his background, they didn't find anything to corroborate, anything indicating a radicalization or extremist background. They saw his military background, and they decided to call the local authorities who took him to the local hospital and there he had a mental evaluation. We don't know what happened next. We only know that this is really the only significant interaction that we have between him and law enforcement.
Now, the FBI is going back to see if there's anything more that could have been done here. Obviously, he traveled from Alaska with this gun, with a handgun, checked in his luggage, and then he opened fire after he landed in Ft. Lauderdale, Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, is that something anybody can do, like check a gun or gun with bullets into your checked luggage?
PEREZ: It really is. I mean, obviously, the goal of the airport security is to keep guns out of the airplane, the part where the passengers are sitting. In this case, what you can do is you go to the TSA, you go to the airline and there's a procedure, you have special types of cases that you can use to travel with guns in checked luggage.
[20:10:04] They make sure that the gun is separated from the ammunition. That would have been done in this case. It appears everything was done according to the rules and regulations.
And it's when he landed in Ft. Lauderdale, he retrieved his bag, and then he went to the bathroom according to some witness statements that the FBI and Broward Sheriff's Office there have collected and returned and opened fire.
COOPER: There has been some conflicting information, especially late today, about who this shooter is --
PEREZ: That's right. We've heard from -- I think you're about to talk to the mayor -- a local mayor down there who has raised that question. We've checked with law enforcement officials. This is the name that they have and they've been checking it with the military, because obviously he served in the Alaska National Guard in the past. They're checking with back in Puerto Rico where he also served as well as with law enforcement elsewhere in Florida where there is some past history of him living.
So, again, this is what they're working with at this point. If they provide a new ID, that will then update it. But at this point, the identification he had on him including a Puerto Rican identification card and his military card ID from Alaska, all indicate that this is his name. Again, this is something that law enforcement is still working on.
COOPER: In terms of motive, do investigators, are they defining this as an act of terrorism? Can if you define terrorism as violence with a political or religious or social agenda?
PEREZ: Right. At this point they have not found any indication that ties it to terrorism. Again, the mental health aspect is I think one of the things that is really the overriding concern here. Is there anything that could have been done to flag him so that he couldn't fly on an aircraft with checked luggage with this firearm? Again, that's the big part of this right now that is being worked on.
They have not ruled out terrorism, but right now no indications that that's the motivation.
COOPER: All right. Evan Perez, appreciate that.
Joining me on the phone is Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief.
Mayor Sharief, thanks so much for being with us.
Do you have any more information about, you know, how this happened? Why this happened?
MAYOR BARBARA SHARIEF, BROWARD COUNTY MAYOR (via telephone): Well, first of all, let me just start, Anderson, by saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families and those who are hospitalized and trying to get through this. We understand that this is a very difficult time. My job is not going to be to comment on any of the details of the FBI investigation. Like I said before, there are some things we are not certain of.
What I can tell you right now is that at our airport, we are focusing on the operations and trying to get people out of that airport continuously and to get them to where they need to go. We have approximately over 20 planes that are on the tarmac, as well as over ten that were at the gates when lockdown occurred.
So, those passengers, we are focused on getting them of the airport and into our terminal 4 and our Port Everglades. There are passengers who have cars at the airport who are trying to leave, and we are now -- we've cleared all the garages in terminal 3 and 4 and we're allowing those passengers who have cars at the airport to leave at this time.
Those who do not have cars, we are transporting them by bus to our terminal four at our Port Everglades cruise terminal for pickup by their family members or to get taxis.
COOPER: I want to ask you, Mayor, about something you said on CNN earlier. I understand there are some things you can't talk about. But I you mentioned this one CNN earlier, that authorities were trying to re-verify the identity of the shooter.
Have they been able to do that as far as you know? Is the shooter in fact this man who's been identified?
SHARIEF: Once the FBI took over the investigation they asked me not to comment on that any further. And so, they're doing their due diligence at this time. What I can tell you is that we were told that that was not something
that they were 100 percent sure of about all his identifying attributes and they are going to continue to investigate that.
Because it's an ongoing investigation, I cannot, you know, confirm that.
COOPER: And in terms of the men and women, the people who were wounded in the attack, do you have any updates on their condition tonight?
SHARIEF: At this time, they're not allowing us to release any of the information on the victims because some of the family members have not been reached as of yet.
COOPER: It's understandable.
SHARIEF: And so, at this time we're not going to do that.
COOPER: All right. Well, I appreciate you talking to us, Mayor, and I'm sorry for just all of this, just a tragic, tragic day for the community. Thank you so much.
Minutes before we came on the air, I spoke with a witness who is one of the lucky ones in an extraordinary way. He says the laptop in his backpack saved his life. We'll hear that conversation next.
Also ahead, more breaking news. On the same day the president-elect gets an intelligence briefing, the U.S. intelligence community releases a report on the Russian hack, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the election to hurt Hillary Clinton and to favor Donald Trump.
[20:18:01] COOPER: Well, the breaking news we're covering tonight, a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. At least five people dead, eight people injured, a suspect in custody and really chaos obviously at the airport.
Just before we went on air, I spoke with an eyewitness, someone who is very lucky to be alive. His name is Steve Frappier. He says a laptop in his backpack saved his life.
COOPER: Steve, when did you realize something was going on? And what did you hear? What did you see?
STEVE FRAPPIER, AIRPORT SHOOTING WITNESS (via telephone): When I was at the baggage claim area, there was a sound of popping like firecrackers, in which in the noises, you know, (INAUDIBLE)
A man yelled out very near us saying, that guy's got a gun, everybody down. Then I knew something was going to happen.
COOPER: So, I suppose, at this point, you dropped down?
FRAPPIER: Correct. So, all of us that were waiting for our baggage, we hit the floor.
COOPER: How far away was the man who yelled that and did you see the shooter at all?
FRAPPIER: I saw the shooter. I didn't see the man that was yelling. I was at the end of it. Most of the people and the victims, too, were by the beginning where the luggage was, but I -- just moments before I decided to move away from the crowd toward the end of the conveyor belt. So I heard the man nearby and I didn't see the shooter until a couple of moments after as he was (INAUDIBLE)
COOPER: So, what happened? You dropped to the ground. Then what?
FRAPPIER: I dropped to the ground. I heard more of the popping sound. And then while I'm on the floor at my level and seeing people start of getting hit.
COOPER: You actually saw that.
FRAPPIER: I saw that. There was a man probably ten feet away from me that was shot in the head and his wife, you know, collapsed on top of him. And --
[20:20:01] COOPER: Was he shot when he was standing up or was he on the floor as well?
FRAPPIER: We were all on the floor.
COOPER: So, the shooter just went over and shot somebody who's laying down on the floor?
FRAPPIER: It was from a certain distance. So, the shooter was not necessarily walking around the baggage claim area. He was still several feet away from many of us. But he -- kind of shot into the crowd and towards the floor and hit that man.
COOPER: Was he saying anything at all before or during the shooting?
FRAPPIER: He said absolutely nothing. He said absolutely nothing. So, there was a point where the entire terminal, the baggage claim area was completely silent and we could just hear the popping of the gun.
COOPER: And that's how you remember, people not screaming, you remember silence?
FRAPPIER: The people screaming might have been the people hurt or people that were next to someone, you know, or a loved one that was hit.
COOPER: I understand you had a backpack with you. That actually saved you or may have saved you. What happened? FRAPPIER: The backpack saved my life. I was wearing a backpack on
both shoulders and then when we went to the floor I just, I dropped and the backpack was still on my back and I was turned in such a way that at one point when the shooter shot towards my direction, there were several other people around me, there was a bullet that ricocheted and I did not know this until after the -- until much later.
I felt something hit my back, and I turned around because the luggage was still coming. So, there was luggage falling on top of me too and I thought it was just luggage at that time. It was only later when I go to the bathroom to check myself out that the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop, and then later when I gave my bag over to the FBI for investigation, they found the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.
COOPER: That's incredible. So, your laptop saved your life. I mean, your laptop stopped the bullet.
FRAPPIER: The lap top and I believe too the backpack, so the laptop, the plastic case and all of that combination because it was on the ground like a tortoise, you know, the backpack on me, the way that it ricocheted into my bag, would have been my back.
COOPER: We're showing a picture of the laptop. It looked like it was hit in the corner or the side.
FRAPPIER: Yes. Yes. And the strange thing, too, is that in the rush to get off the plane, I just kind of shoved my laptop into by backpack and it was opened very slightly. So, later, when they were searching the backpack they were looking for the entry point and it turns out it hit just so through the open backpack actually, you know, ran through the top and the casing and into an interior pocket of the backpack.
COOPER: That's incredible. And they actually recovered the bullet from inside --
FRAPPIER: They recovered the bull fret the side pocket of my backpack.
COOPER: Gosh, you were lucky.
COOPER: So, you were shot at, almost hit. Then what happened?
FRAPPIER: And then the same man -- and this man is the guy that I think saved so many of us, who, whichever bystander was near the conveyor belt, he called out later saying, stay down, he's still here. There was a point where people were getting up to walk away and he yelled out again he's coming back.
And so, there was some guide off in the near distance that I couldn't see, you know, that was coaching us through what we need to do. There were several dozen of us that were on the floor there. And then there was a certain point where law enforcement came and kind
of dissipated the scene. So, I was walking around the airport for several minutes with that bullet my backpack not even knowing that it was there, until later after they were searching me.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how long this shooting went on for? I understand he had several magazines that he was able to eject one, I think put two more in.
FRAPPIER: I saw the gun and it was a handgun. So, I was thinking how are there several dozen bullets in this handgun? He had a couple -- obviously a couple magazines with him. But I think all of this was over and done with maybe in 90 seconds.
FRAPPIER: It was -- it was not any extended period of time. So --
COOPER: Steve, I'm so sorry for what you have gone through and what you witnessed today and obviously for all those who have been injured who lost their lives and their families.
[20:25:04] I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. You know, just -- I don't know. Take care of yourself the next couple days, Steve.
FRAPPIER: Thank you very much.
COOPER: All right.
COOPER: Incredible experience.
Up next, what President Obama is saying about the shooting, plus some insight on how investigators work on uncovering the motive.
[20:28:17] COOPER: Welcome back.
Breaking news: five people killed, eight others wounded in that shooting at Ft. Lauderdale airport. The suspected gunman as we told you in custody.
Now, here's what President Obama said about the shooting tonight in an interview with ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't want to comment on it other than just to say how heartbroken we are for the families who have been affected. These kinds of tragedies have happened too often during the eight years that I've been president. The pain, the grief, the shock that they must be going through is enormous. I've asked my staff to reach out to the mayor down there and make sure
the coordination between state and local officials is what it should be. But I think we'll find out over the next 24 hours exactly how this happened and what motivated this individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A lot to talk about with our panel. Joining us is Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary for homeland security. Also, Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director, now a CNN law enforcement analyst. CNN security analyst David Soucie, and Phil Mudd, former senior official at the FBI and the CIA.
So, Tom, if you can just take us inside an investigation like this, the shooter. What are they looking for to determine a motive, and how much is motive a critical factor right now to determine?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, right now, Anderson, the first thing they're going to want to try and verify is that there's no one else involved, no one else that maybe gave them the weapon or encouraged him to do this, or he's been in communication with from another organization, whether it'd be domestic or international.
And then, they'll do what they normally do in these kinds of cases, examining all of the social media postings, everything they can get off of any computer he may have, conduct searches at his residences, contact all friends, family, colleagues, co-workers, anybody they can find that would know something about him that may have heard him what he was going to do and why he was going to do it.
[20:30:08] COOPER: Phil, according to Evans reporting, the shooter claimed to have been hearing voices in his head, telling him to join ISIS, actually showed up in an FBI office. When investigating the shooting, what are the first things you're looking for to see if, in fact, he acted alone or to get to that question of motive if there was some sort of terrorism connection?
MUDD: Well, let's take one thing off the table, Anderson. Walking up to a federal building, this case an FBI office with voices in your head is not an opportunity for an investigation. That's an opportunity for a referral to a mental health clinic.
Let's go to what happened today. There are baskets of things I would be looking. As Tom said, the first question is whether there's other people. When you get beyond that, about motivation, the baskets I'd be looking at is who's on the plane, what happened when the shooting actually took place, who are his friends, family, and associates, all those are interviews. I want to interview the people who were in his military unit to see what he said there so those are all personal contacts.
In addition, the second major category is digital. I want his cell phone, I want his laptop, what he said on Facebook, what he searched on Google. I fear though at the end of the day that the uncomfortable conclusion is going to be this is another instance of someone with mental health problems who had a weapon and there's not much we're going to do about it and it's difficult to discern a clear motivation.
COOPER: You know, Julia, so often in instances like these, there are early reports of multiple shooters and we've seen this time and time again. And, you know, people say they've heard -- seen different people in different locations and oftentimes as it is investigated it turns out just to be the, you know, the fog of war, the confusion of multiple eyewitnesses seeing things from multiple angles. There's no evidence at this point that there was anybody else involved with this even though early on people inside the airport were told, oh, there's another shooter or there are maybe another shooter.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY: That's exactly right. I mean these eyewitness accounts are often the fog of war. People are hearing different things. They just may not know what they're hearing. And remember law enforcement is getting different reports so they're getting reports from people and so law enforcement doing the intake, they don't know necessarily where those are those -- sort of testimonials are coming from.
So that explains the couple hour delay. I know it looked sort of, you know, oh, it looked like chaos. It really wasn't. It explained the delay in sort of having a lockdown, making sure no one moves, making sure they had everyone accounted for that there was no one else who might be trying to cause harm. And then you have a slow evacuation and ultimately hopefully an opening of an airport.
So it's understandable those different accounts but as we have seen, you know, it happened in Orlando, it happened in Arlington and during the search as often is the case that it just multiple accounts and they have to be sort of drilled down and then people are a sense of what is going on.
COOPER: Yeah, I mean, everybody has to be searched, everybody has to be questioned for what they saw in the airport as we search for any other weapons that may have been hidden or something.
David, when it comes to security, I mean, you can't make everything secure. Obviously, there are soft parts and the baggage claim areas certainly one of them.
DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR AND INSPECTOR: Yeah, there is no real stops to getting people into that baggage claim area and so that is very vulnerable spot. Although, it's interesting to point out the last time there was a gunman attack in a baggage claim area was in Israel in 1972. It's been quite a while since anything like this is actually occurred. In that case, there were three gunmen. In this case, it looks like it's pretty conclusive that there's just one man acting on his own.
COOPER: Tom, the fact that he went into an FBI office, talking about voices in his head, telling him perhaps to join ISIS. You know, as Phil said that's not something that's going to prompt investigation but in a local law enforcement or actually informed that he was taking into a mental health facility. It's not much, I mean, you know, people probably do that more often than we would expect.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: They do it a lot. And that's not just FBI offices. Other law enforcement agencies, local police departments have this all the time. People walk in, report that, you know, that somebody's in their head or doing crazy things. And they try to get them some type of mental health referral. But that's not something the FBI can do and lock up. And can you imagine the civil rights groups if the FBI said, you know, from now on when somebody talks something that we think is crazy, we're going to lock them up, we're going to put them in some kind of facility. It's just not going to happen.
COOPER: And Julia, obviously, if it does turns out to be mental health issues and we've talked about this so many times in the wake of deaths, you know, there are conflicting rights here. You know, the right of an individual versus the right of security for everybody else. There's only so much families can do to take care of somebody who has severe mental health issues.
[20:35:03] KAYYEM: That's exactly right. I mean even him -- you know, look, it looks like he did everything lawful. He got his gun and the ammunition were separated, they were checked. And if he was in possession of those weapons before the mental illnesses showed themselves he would have been registered to have them anyway. This is why people in our community of your panel talk about engaging family members, community members so they can identify mental health illness, get the help they need and also in this case, you know, look, there's no blame here, but if there's things we can learn, you know, were there ways in which whatever possible conflict was going on, is there discussion that something happened on the plane or in baggage claim that escalated this. You know, can we train airport officials to de- escalate these issues. But, you know, look, there's soft targets and lots to of guns in this country and this is -- until we do something essentially about both we're going to have cases like this.
COOPER: Yeah. I want to thank everybody on the panel. We'll going to talk more. Eyewitnesses who saw the gunman during the shooting and are lucky to be alive. U.S. Intelligence agencies say Russia carried out a conference of campaign ordered by President Putin to influence the U.S. presidential election. That's the other big story today.
It is the (inaudible) conclusion of the report they released today. The details we'll have ahead president-elect Trump reaction.
COOPER: The other breaking story today report released by the U.S. intelligence community concluding that in their opinion Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered influenced the campaign including cyber attacks to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the presidential election. Now their report ordered by President Obama is the first public accounting intelligence agencies -- by intelligence agencies of Russian hacking during the 2016 election. Here's what President Obama told ABC News earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle and they meddled. Vladimir Putin is not on our team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The top intelligence officials briefed president-elect Trump for over an hour on their findings. After the meeting, Trump issued a statement down playing Russian's meddling and saying there's no evidence Russia affected the election's outcome. We'll have more on that in a moment. But first, CNN Jim Sciutto reports on the findings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Tonight a declassified version of the intelligence community's report on Russian hacking concluded that "Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect Trump. Russian President Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election.
[00:40:09] Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. Democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency." The Russians' assault on the U.S. election used several different techniques blending, "Covert intelligence operations such as cyber activity-with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users, or trolls," declaring that, "Russian military intelligence used athe Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release U.S. victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to Wikileaks."
It also says, "When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency." The report goes on to state, "Russia's intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with both major U.S. political parties. But only the data stolen from Democrats was ever released publicly. The intelligence assessment confirmed that hacking was "Not involved in vote tallying."
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COOPER: And Jim Sciutto joins us now. So they're saying that both parties had their information hacked. Only the DNC stuff was released.
SCIUTTO: Absolutely. Anderson, this is key because you've heard from Trump himself and from Trump surrogates saying, well, listen, you know, the only reason that the information came out about the Democrats and only the Democrats is because only the Democrats were successfully hacked. But this report actually belies that. It says that both parties were targeted, both were hacked but it was only one party that the material was released to the public and strategically leading up to the election and that is one of the main reasons, Anderson, that the intelligence community concluded that the intention here was to weaken Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.
COOPER: All right, Jim Sciutto, appreciate it. Again, president- elect Trump is downplaying the intelligence reports finding in a statement he issued after meeting for more than an hour with intel officials who walked him through the evidence they've collected.
CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta joining us now from Trump Tower. You just spoke with a senior transition official. What did they tell you about the meeting?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Anderson, they said that this meeting was not contentious, that it was cordial, there was no yelling that went on, and that Donald Trump asked questions and received new information. And the transition is saying based on that presentation they received from intelligence community officials they do concede, they do believe that this hacking operations intent was to discredit Hillary Clinton. But they are pushing back on this notion that it was pro-Trump and they point out, a senior transition official points out one piece of information that they picked up at this meeting that the hacking operation began in late 2015, early 2016, based on that information, the senior transition official told me the question is how could that have been a pro-Trump operation when he wasn't even the likely nominee at that point.
This official went on to say, you know, there were problems with the FBI's investigation over at the DNC. You'll recall we've been reporting this, that the FBI tried to go to the DNC, get access to those servers, that they really didn't get that access that they wanted, and the senior transition official said it was asked of these intelligence community officials earlier today had the DNC been more cooperative, been more forthcoming with this information with the FBI, might that have made a difference and the answer that given was, well, there were a lot of things that could have made a difference. Anderson?
COOPER: And Vice President-elect Pence talked to reporters today. What did he say?
ACOSTA: He did. He came out at the end of the day talked to reporters. He said -- and it was basically a vow that in the early days of this new administration that's coming and Mike Pence said that the Trump administration will be aggressive when it comes to going after cyber attackers, that does sort of back up that statement that we got earlier in the day from the president-elect himself vowing that in 90 days he's going to get a report from his team basically giving them some guidance on where to go next with all of this. And so we should set our calendars now, Anderson. 90 days from now the new Trump administration is saying they will have a report laying out what they're going to do about cyber attackers.
COOPER: All right, 90 days. Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Coming up, we'll get the panel's take on president-elect Trump's reaction to the intelligence report, downplaying the findings and insisting that Russia's actions had no effect on the election itself. One of our guests actually spoke to Mr. Trump today plus the night's
(ph) other breaking news, deadly shooting in Fort Lauderdale's airport. We're expecting news conference with the latest developments soon. We'll bring that to you when it happens.
[20:48:05] COOPER: Well, busy night of breaking news. We have more on in Fort Lauderdale's airport shooting ahead. We're waiting for a news conference that should be getting under way any minute now. We'll bring that to you.
The other breaking story we've been following, the intelligence report released today concluding that Russian President Vladimir Putin -- opinion of the intelligence agencies ordered an influenced campaign including cyber attacks to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump to the presidential election. President-elect Trump was briefed in the (inaudible) downplaying them. A lot to talk about with our panels, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" presidential campaign correspondent, Maggie Haberman, CNN political correspondent and "Washington Post" columnist Josh Rogin and "New York Times" White House correspondent Michael Shear.
Maggie, I know you spoke to people in president-elect Trump's camp after the intelligence briefing. What did they say?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Essentially, the president- elect is never going to come easily to the idea that he did not end up winning this election without an asterisk next to it. And this is how hearing all of this for better or worst is --
COOPER: That is when for which he is viewing.
HABERMAN: That is the one through which he is viewing this. I mean there is -- the report that we saw and then there's the report that he saw which is very detailed and which is the evidence that we are not going to (inaudible) as general public.
I think that is going to take a while to see whether Donald Trump will actually say that he accepts the Russians were meddling in this election as President Obama has said and the intelligence community has said and whether it could have had some impact, but he is not in a position from what everything I've heard so far where he is ready to say that that is the case. And I think you are going to see this posture he has right now which is not saying that for quite some time.
COOPER: Even if he came away as, I think it was Jim Acosta saying that people in the Trump transition believe, OK, they admit Russia had a thing, but they don't admit it had any impact. That's not the middle ground that at this point you think Donald Trump is (inaudible).
HABERMAN: It's the middle ground that his transition team said, and it was in that statement that was put out right afterwards, but I think what you hear from his own mouth is perhaps going to be different. I think it is going to take him a while to get there as you know after 18 months of this campaign and the transition. What he says is sometimes different than his advisers say would likely him to be saying.
[20:50:04] COOPER: Michael, you interviewed President-elect Trump earlier today before the intelligence briefing. Take us through what he told you.
MICHAEL SHEAR, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, so keep in mind, this is before he met with the intelligence leaders, and, you know, I essentially was asking him, was he looking forward to this meeting? What was he expecting to hear? And honestly, it was -- I didn't have to ask hem much. I mean it sort of poured out of him. He really expressed again, this skepticism that's been showing for weeks since the election, you know, called it a political witch hunt, said that the whole focus on Russia was unfair to him. He cited all these other instances of hacking by China and North Korea and others, said why aren't we paying attention to those more.
I mean I think Maggie is right. Ultimately, he is really, you know, of the belief that this entire conversation about Russian hacking into the election undermines his legitimacy as president, and that's really hard for him to accept, as Maggie said, that there's an asterisk or that in some ways people aren't going to accept he him as the rightful president. I thought actually the statement that they put out did kind of moved him in that direction. But as Maggie says, until we sort of hear it from his own voice, and in fact, maybe we will at the press conference next week that he's having. Until we hear it that, I'm going to be a little skeptical.
COOPER: It is interesting Josh. I mean you have President-elect Trump saying what he said and President Obama coming out, you know, saying Vladimir Putin is not on our team, you could not have a more diametrically opposed things like positioning.
JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, but it's not just Trump versus Obama. What we've seen today is basically the completion of the isolation of Donald Trump on this issue, right. With all the evidence that we're going to get is out. If he's not convinced by now, he's not going to be convinced. And now you have Republicans, Democrats, the intelligence community, all on the opposite of the president-elect, before he event takes office. That's a remarkable thing for someone who hasn't even stepped into the post yet.
So, going forward, there's going to be a huge drive inside the government, in the Congress, in the foreign policy community to do something about this. The big part of the intelligence report was that how this is ongoing, it's in Europe. It's not going to stop. We have to respond. There's a lot of plans to do that. And the president-elect of the United States has no interest in being a part of any of that.
COOPER: Maggie, we heard from Vice President-elect Pence coming forward and saying we're going to be tough on this when we take office, and yet, there's plenty of people on team Trump, on the transition team who publicly, you know, are saying, are echoing exactly what Donald Trump is saying. HABERMAN: You have a split in Donald Trump's camp as you have at
various points throughout his campaign and his transition. There are some people such as Michael Flynn who are very distressful (ph) of elements of the intelligence community and then you have other people who -- even if they feel that way, do not see the upside in this public fight with the agencies that he's going to be overseeing as president and don't see how ultimately this is serving him well.
You saw them named Dan Coats, the former senator from Indiana who has relationship with Mike Pence as the head of the office -- of the director of the national intelligence. That move was meant to signal they're not doing a wholesale change at least right away. But it's not clear exactly how many people will going to hear that way, because there are conflicting signals coming out. And again what Trump himself says as you know, on any given day can change the next day.
COOPER: Michael, I mean again, you spoke to today, earlier today before this briefing but I got to say, I mean, you know, we've seen a lot of tweets from President-elect Trump. I was surprised by this morning's tweet where he's going, I think it was two tweets about the ratings for "The Apprentice", and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean -- I'm not the only one, but it just seems to me incredible that the president-elect cares about the ratings of the T.V. show, a stupid T.V. show he used to be on, but now somebody else's on and he's still the executive producer of.
SHEAR: Well, I mean, and it was an odd series of tweets because of course he was condemning and mocking the show that he himself is the producer of. So there was a lot of conspiracy theories on Twitter, well, maybe he is trying to goose the ratings by creating a kind of controversy around it.
But look, I mean, the thing about Donald Trump's tweets that we as the media have to recognize is that they fall into different categories and we should apply the same news judgement that we do to everything that a president says. And when he tweets about things that are not important, we should, you know, mention them and move on to something else. And when he tweets something that is important, like, you know, nuclear weapons or Russia or something that legitimately qualifies as news, we should report --
COOPER: But does it say something, I mean maybe he's trying distract people, maybe he's trying to goose ratings. I don't know. To me, it says something about the man that he's about to sue (ph), the most important -- must be the most powerful guy on the planet and he seems to genuinely care about the ratings of a T.V. show.
[20:55:06] SHEAR: Well, look, and I think that's a legitimate question, and we should as a country, and as a reporters, hold him to, you know, what in fact is he doing to get ready to be part, you know, to be president, but let's not go too far, right? I mean, all presidents, all president-elects have other interests. I mean President Obama watches ESPN a lot. I mean, you know, it's not like you can expect a person to be --
COOPER: Maggie, I don't know though of anybody who's ever been president who has so, is such a raw nerve of emotion that is so clearly visible to everybody, whether it's anger or jealousy or pride or boastfulness. You know, he called himself a ratings juggernaut I think today or ratings machine or something in one of those threes. I mean, again, I don't it really matters but I don't think it is a -- it's a mirror to who this person is.
HABERMAN: I think we've never had a Twitter presidency before and we've certainly never had this kind of cross-section view of a president's brain, which is what Twitter is for him. What it sense to me is that, I mean, you're only surprised by this, and I think everything you're saying. But I think one is only surprised by this if we weren't following this campaign --
COOPER: Well, yeah.
HABERMAN: -- is the place for, if we expected him to be different somehow when we has elected. This is who he is. This is the kinds of tweets we saw him do throughout. Remember, we spent days on the Alicia Machado tweets during the campaign. This is not a huge surprise. And he is, for better or worse, somebody -- Michael says who does have other interests and who is enormously proud of the life he had before this campaign but include differences (ph).
COOPER: All right, we got all the job, appreciate all of you. Sorry, we're short on time. The breaking news, the other breaking news story we're following, a deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport. We have another eyewitness account (inaudible) says it all happened in just 45 seconds or so. Obviously, eyewitness says different sense of time.
We're going to bring you that and also a news conference expected to happened soon from the FBI.